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Howard E. Evans
Kevin M. O’Neill
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Harvard University Press
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Howard Evans was a brilliant ethologist and systematist, describing over 900 species in over a dozen entomology and natural history books. Upon his death in 2002, he left behind an unfinished manuscript, intended as an update of his classic 1966 work, The Comparative Ethology and Evolution of the Sand Wasps. O'Neill, Evans's former student and coauthor, has completed and enlarged this work into a tribe-by-tribe, species-by-species review of Bembicinae studies from the last four decades.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-03661-1
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Mary Alice Evans

    Although my husband, Howard, had studied spider wasps as a graduate student at Cornell University, his first job took him to Kansas, where sand wasps were a natural for him and his students. When he came back to Cornell as a member of the faculty in 1952, he brought this interest with him. I met him not long after his return, and some of our first trips into the field were to teach me what a good sand wasp site looked like, how to take meaningful biological notes on the wasps, and how to dig out their nests without destroying...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xx)
    Kevin M. O’Neill
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-21)

    In the Chihuahuan desert, at the LaJoya State Game Refuge in central New Mexico, there is a habitat that is incongruous in its surroundings: 30 acres of natural wetlands within the flood plain of the Rio Grande. Adjacent to the wetlands is a habitat more commonly associated with deserts, a series of dry sand dunes that include a mix of sparse vegetation and open sand. Naturalists visiting the refuge’s marshes and dunes typically come for the sandhill cranes, double-crested cormorants, turkeys, Gambel’s quail, pyrrhuloxia, black-throated sparrows, and vermillion flycatchers, among other attractions. Our main interest in the area, however, and...

  6. 2 Cool Wasps of the Alyssontini
    (pp. 22-29)

    Members of the tribe Alyssontini, all of which are in the generaAlysson, Didineis, andAnalysson, are “small, slender wasps, most of which are taken only infrequently by collectors” (Bohart and Menke 1976). Thus it is not particularly surprising that the group is poorly known, or that we found just a single brief report on the biology ofDidineissince 1966. New data onAlysson, however, permit a somewhat broader comparison of the ethology of that genus.

    Phylogenetic status. Alysson, with 42 described species, is the largest genus of Alyssontini, whereasDidineishas 28 species andAnalyssonone (Pulawski 2006a);...

  7. 3 Cicada and Hopper Hunters of the Gorytini
    (pp. 30-68)

    Biological information has accumulated on more than half of the genera of Gorytini, and certain species, such asGorytes canaliculatus, Hoplisoides nebulosus, andSphecius speciosus, are well studied. Within the Gorytini, we have biological information on over one-quarter of the species for just one genus,Sphecius). For several medium- to large-sized genera of Gorytini, a small minority of species have been studied (according to our survey): 1 of 27Ammatomus, 5 of 24Argogorytes, 1 of 31Austrogorytes, 5 of 67Clitemnestra, 10 of 46Gorytes, 8 of 73Harpactus, 14 of 79Hoplisoides, 1 of 18Lestiphorus, and 2...

  8. 4 Brood Parasites of the Nyssonini
    (pp. 69-74)

    The general features of the biology of the Nyssonini were summarized by Evans (1966a), Bohart and Menke (1976), and O’Neill (2001). On the basis of both behavioral and morphological evidence, it is generally agreed that all Nyssonini are brood parasites of other apoid wasps. Evans (1966a) presented arguments that, after the adult female deposits an egg in the host’s nest cell, the nyssonine larva destroys the host’s egg before feeding on the provisions. As of 1966, knowledge of the host relationships of the tribe was mostly restricted to the genusNysson, though information of varying reliability was also available for...

  9. 5 Stizini: A Mixed Tribe of Hopper Hunters and Brood Parasites
    (pp. 75-116)

    Despite relatively low morphological diversity at the generic level, the tribe Stizini as a whole exhibits a great diversity of reproductive strategies. No other sand wasp tribe contains mass provisioners (Stizus), progressive provisioners (Bembecinus), and obligate brood parasites (Stizoides). And, across the tribe, prey include grasshoppers, katydids, mantids, and leafhoppers (as well as several odd records of flies). Recent research has uncovered previously unstudied and unknown aspects of nest structure, prey types, and mating strategies. Future studies in Africa and Central Asia, which together include well over half of the world’sStizus, should be rewarding and could perhaps uncover further...

  10. 6 Bembicini: The Diverse New World Genera
    (pp. 117-158)

    The strictly New World genera of the tribe Bembicini considered in this chapter are treated in the same sequence as in Bohart and Menke (1976). The only worldwide genus of Bembicini and the largest genus of sand wasps,Bembix, is covered in the next chapter. Two New World genera,CarlobembixWillink (1947) andChilostictiaGillaspy (1983), are known from a single species each and nothing is known of their ethology. At least some biological information is available for all 15 other genera.

    Phylogenetic status of the Tribe Bembicini. The 17 genera of Bembicini include over 500 species (30% of Bembicinae)...

  11. 7 Bembicini: The Cosmopolitan Genus Bembix
    (pp. 159-223)

    With nearly 350 species worldwide (Pulawski 2005),Bembixis the largest genus of the Bembicini and one of the largest of the Crabronidae, trailing onlyCerceris(>850 species),Trypoxylon(>600 species), andTachysphex(∼400 species), and being about equal in size toLiris. About two dozen species are known from North America, though much of our biological information comes from this area.Bembixoccur on all continents (except Antarctica), as well as on some islands of the East and West Indies. Literature on the group is extensive. Early major contributions include those onBembix rostrata(L.) by Nielsen (1945) and...

  12. 8 Comparative Ethology of Sand Wasps
    (pp. 224-294)

    The foregoing tribe-by-tribe review of research done over the last 40 years makes it clear that the Bembicinae form a behaviorally diverse group. Here we will bring together recent information on behavioral diversity in the Bembicinae with that summarized previously by Evans (1957b, 1966a). Unless otherwise given, the material cited in this chapter can be found in these publications or in the preceding chapters of this book. Readers interested in pursuing sand wasp behavioral studies may want to consult the Appendix, which presents what we consider to be important questions that need to be answered.

    Sand wasps seem especially diverse...

  13. Appendix: Research Wish List
    (pp. 295-298)
  14. References
    (pp. 299-326)
  15. Index
    (pp. 327-340)